I was in an accident and my 4 year old daughter was injured, what is a fair settlement?

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I was in an accident and my 4 year old daughter was injured, what is a fair settlement?

She recieved a cut on her forehead. It was sever enough to require surgery and a night in the hospital. Her medical bills were over $12,000. The accident was the fault of the other driver. Now their insurance company is offereing to settle for pain and suffering in the amount of $15,000. Is this a fair amount?

Asked on April 26, 2012 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

Barry J. Simon / The Law Office of Barry J. Simon

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Is the total offer $15,000.00 or are they offering $15,000.00 on top of the $12,000.00 in medical bills? Does your daughter have a scar and if so, what does it look like? Who is the insurance carrier for the at fault driver? If their total offer is only $15,000.00, that is a ridiculous offer.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your daughter's personal injury claim includes the medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills which is determined by the medical reports documenting the nature and extent of your daughter's injuries.  There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering.  It just depends on the facts of the particular case.  For example, someone who has residual complaints of pain after completing medical treatment should receive more compensation than someone who has no residual complaints of pain.  If the medical reports state that future treatment is needed, an estimate of the cost of the future treatment discounted to present value should be included in the amount of your daughter's compensation. 

If your daughter does not have any residual problems, what is being offered is reasonable, but could be slightly more.  If she is having problems, then the settlement offer should be considerably higher.

I would usually ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but NOT expecting to get that.  The insurance company will respond with a much lower offer and negotiations can continue from there.

I think if you can get the insurance company closer to twenty thousand, that would be a good settlement.  If you can't get them to twenty, I would say accept a figure  near eighteen thousand.

If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party.  You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your daughter because she is a minor.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, you will need to file the lawsuit on behalf of your daughter prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or she will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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